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Ray’s legacy lives on at UWI Toronto Benefit Gala

By Gerald V. Paul












From left, Prof. Nigel Harris, Brigette Chang-Addorisio, Charles Coffey, recipient of the inaugural G. Raymond Chang Award, Andrew Chang, Donette Chin-Loy Chang, Sir George Alleyne and Bruce Bowen.

Gerald V. Paul Photo.

“To be a genuine leader, an educational institution must show the way to both learners and the community of which it’s a part; that is to say, the education it provides must be relevant and it must be progressive.”

So said the late G. Raymond Chang at the 2014 University of the West Indies (UWI) Toronto Benefit Gala where $40,000 was raised through a bidding war between Chang and Michael Lee Chin. Chang’s legacy lives on in the new G. Raymond Chang Award, presented to Charles Coffey. Chang founded the gala.

This year, more than $30,000 was raised at the sixth-annual (UWI Toronto Benefit Gala at the Ritz-Carlton last Saturday where Luminary recipient Shaggy delivered two stylish musical renditions, Bombastic and Angel in the Morning. The event supports UWI’s Scholarship Fund, which has awarded more than 200 scholarships to date.

Last year, Tessanne Chin, season five winner of TV’s The Voice and Luminary recipient, wowed the audience with three a cappella renditions in the bidding war between Chang and Chin.

Prior to receiving the inaugural G. Raymond Chang Award, honouring the late business leader and philanthropist, Coffey told The Camera “We were kindred spirits. It’s about the community, leadership and diversity. Building relationships and speaking up about issues that need a stronger voice.”

Prof. E. Nigel Harris, UWI vice-chancellor, told the gathering “I pay tribute to Donette, Andrew and Brigette for their strength and generosity in maintaining this wonderful legacy and the G. Raymond Chang Award’s first recipient Charlie Coffey for his dedication to community leadership and passion in areas of education, entrepreneurship, diversity and who exemplifies the spirit of the award.”

Orville ‘Shaggy’ Burrell, noting that “I never met Ray Chang but would have loved to have the opportunity to meet him”, was almost in tears when he spoke about the work of his philanthropic efforts for the Bustamante Hospital for Children, the only full-service children’s hospital in the English-speaking Caribbean. Along with his personal donations, The Shaggy Make a Difference Foundation has since 2008 raised a total of just over US$ 1 million for the hospital, providing much needed equipment.

Rojel Bradford from Mona Campus, a Jamaican pursuing a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery at the Faculty of Medical Science, spoke at the event, representing scholarship awardees.“I feel extremely honoured to be the recipient of the prestigious UWI Toronto Gala Scholarship which came at a pivotal time in my life, and has given me the funding to continue my education to its completion.

“This award has covered most of my financial expenses and what seemed like an impossible journey now seems possible as it has kindled the fire in me to push for success no matter the cost. I offer my sincerest gratitude to the UWI Toronto Gala donors.”

Donette Chin-Loy Chang, speaking on behalf of the Chang family including daughter Brigette Chang-Addorisio and son Andrew Chang – patrons of the gala – said, “In the spotlight we are very proud to celebrate this year’s distinguished honourees, representing so many diverse fields and contributions.

“Their stories inspire our scholarship award winners to believe in their dream, work hard to achieve their goals and always to know that ‘Light. Learning and Liberty’ guides their path.”

Dr. Herbert Ho Ping Kong, honourary co-chair of the 2015 gala committee with Sheldon Levy, president and vice-chancellor of Ryerson University, said he is serving with a touch of sadness.

“In the previous years since I have been functioning in this role, Ray Chang was always the patron who guided our efforts. Once again I applaud his philanthropic efforts on our behalf.

“I welcome his children Brigette and Andrew and his wife Donette in their new role as patrons for the event. I thank them and all of you for giving your time and resources to help the next generation of leaders in the Caribbean.”

Bruce Bowen, senior vice-president, English Caribbean Region, Scotiabank, said the bank is pleased to be lead chair of the gala “which continues to celebrate the accomplishments of outstanding individuals and provide funding to support the education and development of deserving students.”

Award recipients include: Luminary Award, Hon. Juanita Westmoreland-Traore; Chancellor’s Award, George Brown College of Applied Arts and Technology / Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival; Vice-Chancellor’s Award, Cameron Bailey / Dr. Catherine Chandler-Crichlow.


By Gerald V. Paul